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The Trials of Edgar Poe and Other Poems Paperback – June 21, 2010

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About the Author

Ned Balbo is the author of two previous full-length collections. Lives of the Sleepers received the Ernest Sandeen Poetry Prize and a ForeWord Book of the Year Award. Galileo's Banquet was awarded the Towson University Prize. He has received three Maryland Arts Council grants, the Robert Frost Foundation Poetry Award, and the John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize. A poetry fellow at the Sewanee Writers' Conference and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, he has published poetry and prose in Antioch Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Dark Horse, Dogwood, The Formalist, Notre Dame Review, River Styx, Unsplendid, and elsewhere.

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Story Line Press (June 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978599721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978599720
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,599,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Susan McLean on January 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
At one level, horror is the stuff of cheap thrills and safe dangers, a roller-coaster ride beloved by teens and prepubescents, whether in the stories of Edgar Allan Poe or the schlocky movies of the cineplex and television reruns. But at another level, horror taps in to the most basic human fears--of rejection, abandonment, out-of-control lust, rage, oblivion, and every kind of loss. Ned Balbo presents Frankenstein's monster, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, Dracula, King Kong, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Invisible Man, and others as reflections of aspects of himself, as he grapples with the lasting effects of discovering that he was raised from infancy by his aunt and uncle, thinking that his birth parents were actually his aunt and uncle. When his birth parents, after years of ignoring him, try to reclaim him in his teens, their actions trigger confusion, rage, and a massive identity crisis. Balbo examines his own experiences both through the mythic templates of these classic horror tales and through the related experiences of Poe, who was adopted as a child himself by a reluctant Scottish merchant who, after his wife's death, rejected the young man.

Though Balbo uses a wide range of poetic forms--such as blank verse, villanelle, pantoum, ghazal, ballad, sonnet, ottava rima, sestina, ballade, terza rima--generally the forms are unobtrusive, often relying on slant rhymes or unusual rhyme schemes that partly obscure the form from notice. The result is that the reader focuses on the content more than the form. In just a few cases, such as the ghazal "The Crimefighter's Apprentice," were the repetitions so insistent that I felt they distracted from the themes.

The central long poem, "Hart Island," is about the potter's field for New York City.
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